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Master and Commander: Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 1 | [Patrick O'Brian]

Master and Commander: Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 1

This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, Royal Navy, and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against the thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of life aboard a man-of-war in Nelson's navy are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the road of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Let more academic folk reach for Moby Dick; I'll take the Aubrey / Maturin series every time. The first of what has been called "the best [series of] historical novels ever written", Master and Commander has everything a good adventure story needs: well-drawn characters, a unique backdrop, and rousing action. And in Patrick Tull, it has the perfect narrator - the voice of an old sea dog who enjoys nothing more than sharing a well-told tale. —Ed Walloga

Publisher's Summary

This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, Royal Navy, and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against the thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of life aboard a man-of-war in Nelson's navy are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the road of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.

Don't miss the rest of the Aubrey/Maturin series.

©1984 Patrick O'Brian; (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC.

What the Critics Say

"The best historical novels ever written." (The New York Times Book Review)
"No writer alive can move one as O'Brian can; no one can make you laugh so loud with hilarity, whiten your knuckles with unbearable tension or choke with emotion. He is the master." (Irish Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (2055 )
5 star
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 (116)
Overall
4.2 (946 )
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4 star
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3 star
 (131)
2 star
 (57)
1 star
 (36)
Story
4.2 (954 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (108)
2 star
 (63)
1 star
 (40)
Performance
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  •  
    Helen Olmsted San Diego, CA, US 03-27-04
    Helen Olmsted San Diego, CA, US 03-27-04 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    47
    ratings
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    11
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    "Great story"

    You don't need to be a historical novel fan or a fan of military or maritime themes to enjoy this book. The story was quite engaging and also well read. I was interested enough to come away wanting to listen to/read the other books in the series at some point.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Garza Berkeley, CA 03-23-04
    J. Garza Berkeley, CA 03-23-04 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    171
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    3
    Overall
    "Choose the Vance reading instead"

    Not to disparage Mr. Tull's reading, but since a choice is available it did seem immediately apparent that Simon Vance's more dynamic, and at the risk of seeming ageist, more youthful reading did lend itself better to this action adventure tale. You get the tale 3 hours faster, and that can only be a good thing.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Smiley Sacramento, CA United States 03-23-04
    Richard Smiley Sacramento, CA United States 03-23-04 Member Since 2004
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    "I love the detail."

    I really appreciated the detail in this selection. The character of Maturin is a terrific tool for aquainting the "lubber" with life aboard ship. Through his eyes we learn the ship and the jargon of the Navy. Sharing his first experiences allows O'Brien to give a lot of description without departing from the story. Cleverly done. Certainly not a light book. It demanded a fair amount of concentration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Spencer Mooresville, NC, USA 03-31-04
    Spencer Mooresville, NC, USA 03-31-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    18
    3
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    "I would have to pass on further novels like this"

    I was excited to be reading this novel. The movie received so much hype that I wanted to listen to this before actually seeing the movie. After listening fretfully for 3 hours, I must say that I can no longer sustain it. It moves at a very slow pace and seems to go nowhere. I was looking for an action and adventure type of story and received way too much detail. For me personally, I will invest in the 3 hour movie and leave the 16+ hour narrative behind.

    This is the first Audible book (I have both the book and periodical subscription) in a year that I have not enjoyed thoroughly. I listen to 1 or more books per month and the daily WSJ subscription. All have been very well done. This rendition was first difficult to follow at first with the British accent (Narrated by Patrick Tull - although it did add more authenticity). I kept up with it thinking I would eventually get into the story, but alas, I never could. I can not recommend this to a casual reader looking for fun and adventure.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Play del Rey, CA, USA 03-30-04
    Christopher Play del Rey, CA, USA 03-30-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Couldn't force myself to pay attention"

    I listen to 7 or 8 audiobooks per month, and of over 50 titles I've gotten from Audible, this is the first one I couldn't finish. I've listened to the first 20 minutes 3 times, but can't get past that point. In truth, my mind starts wandering pretty much as soon as the prologue is done.

    7 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L Craig Hilton 02-18-04 Member Since 2003

    C. Hilton

    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    38
    1
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    "Yawn, I fell asleep several times"

    This is the first book in over a year I couldn't finish because I'm using the books to keep awake while driving!
    Tull reads masterfully but his voice doesn't make one think of a captain, but rather that insurance salesman that calls during dinner. Sorry to all those insurance salesmen out there.
    If you aren't a historical detail lover then steer away.

    7 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam 07-29-12
    Adam 07-29-12 Member Since 2010

    Adam

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    36
    1
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "If you like swallowing spit sounds,you'll love it"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A different narrator and a much better producer. You can hear the echo of the narrator and other people talking in the background throughout what I got through (4:45).


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jack Aubrey for sure.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Either he REFUSED to stop for a drink or wasn't allowed a break, so his voice would continue to get more gravely and he would stop to swallow again and again and again. I tried every way to listen to get through this book but I simply could not do it.

    I would NEVER EVER listen to anything this guy read EVER.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Wordy as hell and confusing with no nautical or naval experience. But that is my ignorance and, I believe, the nature of this author and the series to give a story as close to actual history as possible.


    Any additional comments?

    I have not disliked another narrator and usually they add to the novel but I just couldn't get past the Hi-Fi spit swallow sound.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Hulse 05-02-12
    L. Hulse 05-02-12 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    2
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    Story
    "not to my taste"
    What disappointed you about Master and Commander?

    There's less a plot and more a series of things that happen. It's interesting enough, but I felt like I was reading a series of consecutive stories rather than a novel.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I would have added a more central conflict.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The reader speaks veeeerrrrryyyy sssllloooooowwwwlllyyyy. I actually found it unlistenable at regular speed and had to listen to it at 1.5x (yay Audible app for Android, which allows me to do this!)


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment after gotten such glowing recommendations.


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    V. Burnsville, MN, United States 12-17-11
    V. Burnsville, MN, United States 12-17-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    Overall
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    Story
    "Horrible Narration"
    Would you try another book from Patrick O'Brian and/or Patrick Tull?

    Patrick Tull is boring. He lacks the ability to distinguish between characters. The production value is also poor - as you can hear the narrators every sniffle and gasp for air.


    What could Patrick O'Brian have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Had someone else read his book.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Lack of distinction in character voices. No passion. Acted as though we was reading a school text, versus a novel.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I wanted to throw my blackberry of the Metro.


    Any additional comments?

    Avoid Patrick Tull....

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kirk Richmond, TX, United States 12-23-10
    Kirk Richmond, TX, United States 12-23-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
    ratings
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    386
    41
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    5
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    Overall
    "Tull is not a good narrator"

    Patrick Tull is not a good narrator. If I had known that Simon Vance had a version of this book, I would have gotten it instead. Simon Vance is the better narrator IMHO. Just look at the wide variety of novels by other authors read by him with high ratings. Patrick Tull on the other hand has these annoying pauses where he is "catching his breath" and sometimes you can even hear his breathing.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
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